Songwriter Spotlight: Sam Ferrara
"Songwriting is cool because you have to have a conversation with people, it's almost like dating, dreams coming together," Sam Ferrara
Samantha Ferrara and I sat down in the studio the other day to talk a little about her career and her latest single, "Whiskey Memory." What's interesting about Sam is that she recently started pursuing her songwriting career full force. She is a full-time music teacher and right before March 2020, she was ramping up to hit the Nashville music scene playing shows and writer's rounds. COVID-19 hit the music industry hard and most of us had to put everything on hold. However, the pandemic helped Sam write a little more, along with co-writing. Ferrara was revamping songs for the new record, live streaming shows and got involved with Nashville Tour Stop. While being invited to play shows, she knew she needed to keep writing to keep up in this town.
Sam Ferrara had discovered songwriting after her undergrad years. She knew she was passionate about music and the music industry. Ferrara told me, "Whiskey memory was the first song I ever wrote. It was inspired by Carrie Underwood and took thirty minutes to get the base work down for it." She is a multi-instrumentalist and was considered to be more of a lyricist until moving to Nashville. The beauty of Nashville is that it is a crazy melting pot and we as songwriters get to experiment with our craft.
While Whiskey Memory was written last year, Sam planned for this single to have a two-week turnaround period because she needed to get this song out. Whiskey Memory is the start of her passion project. Ferrara and her producer, Slice, used a unique technique of mixing the song while recording different sections instead of waiting to do it at the end. In terms of recording, this was Sam's first time in the studio and she made some great connections to help get to where she is today. After passing mixes back and forth, they were able to master Whiskey Memory into what it is today.
Her experimenting came into play when she was finishing her master's degree online. Ferrara wanted to incorporate bass clarinet into her thesis about country and bluegrass music. The bass clarinet almost sounds like an upright bass. Sam studied it and researched wood instruments and country music. Did they go hand in hand or should they be left separate? Instruments and wood colors and timbres and picking songs and She would experiment original country clips vs layered clips with the bass line and used different breathing techniques with "finding the right pockets at the right time."
Here's what Sam had to say about this town and pursuing songwriting:
"This is my first time doing music full time. I had to get advice from my peers. You need
to find people you trust and you need to find your circle. People lose everything in this
town, we see it happen all the time. Find those who believe in you and work with those
people. I'm passionate about what I write, I want to tell my story and I want people to
hear my story."
Whiskey Memory Song Review:
What I liked about Whiskey Memory is that it has a typical 2000s country with an 8 bar instrumental. Usually, pop-country songs today give you four beats and jump right into the song. This is because our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter every year with how fast we can get our music and content.
While talking with Sam, I can tell inspired by Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. I'm talking about 2005, "Some Hearts," Carrie Underwood.
There were some good harmonies, I would have loved to hear more to fill up the spaces. Sam Ferrara has a peaceful and sweet voice.
Country music on the radio today usually caps at 3 minutes, but I can see this heading towards a radio station for up-and-coming artists. It almost has a coffeehouse feel to it.
Good production on her partner, "Slice's" part. Slice is a producer and helped Sam Ferrara bring her single to life. You can't tell that it was produced in a studio basement. In my opinion, I am so glad that you can have home recording studios. It is so personal and the essence of "old" Nashville. You can have the best setup in your basement or home to get the best quality recordings if you know what you are doing. Slice is a great producer.
I know that Sam Ferrara will start experimenting more on her new album, but Whiskey Memory is your go-to drinking-alone-in-a-bar country song. "Something bout you something bout me something about that whiskey memory."
There is a repeated chorus at the end but she still finds a way to make it new by adding new harmonies and piano melodies.
The church bells at the end tie this entire piece together and will leave you wanting Sam Ferrara to drop the album right now!